Velazquez on Heroes Act
Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) spoke today on the House floor in support of the Heroes Act, H.R. 6800. Following are her remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I rise in support of the Heroes Act. This bill contains important provisions to help stop the economy’s freefall. For small businesses, it authorizes an additional $10 billion in disaster grants. It improves the PPP initiative allowing businesses under stay-at-home orders to extend the loan coverage period until the end of the calendar year. It also sets aside 25% - or $30 billion - of the remaining funds for firms with fewer than ten employees.
“Equally important, this legislation assists struggling families. In this bill, we increase funding for SNAP by 15 percent to address the record increase in hunger we are seeing. The bill extends unemployment benefits, including the $600 per week in pandemic unemployment insurance. Importantly, this benefit will not count against other federal aid - like SNAP and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – a change I’ve long advocated.
“For New Yorkers struggling with rent, this measure provides $100 billion in rental assistance.
“Many essential workers would receive hazard pay under this bill and better access to Personal Protective Equipment, like nurses, door persons, transit workers and those cleaning buildings so the rest of us stay safe. These are the “heroes” of this crisis – and the Heroes Act compensates them more appropriately.
“The Heroes Act will also help states and localities with enormous fiscal challenges. New York State will receive $34 billion in fiscal relief and the City will receive $17 billion. Finally, the bill puts forth a strategic plan to test, trace and treat the virus. Until we have widespread testing, consumer confidence will remain weak – and our economy will not fully recover.
“There could be more in this bill. It could do more to assist immigrant families. The bill could further expand healthcare. However, we cannot wait. The New Yorkers in my district lined up at foodbanks cannot wait. The three million Americans who lost their jobs last week alone cannot wait. Essential workers cannot wait. I urge a yes vote – and I yield back.”